Golf

Bob Gillespie

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

The perfect finish: Dunes Club reopens with new Champion Bermuda greens

Posted 10/4/2013 2:35:00 PM

One of the oldest and most popular golf courses in Myrtle Beach now has the newest greens on the Grand Strand. The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones and a favorite since its opening in the 1960s, reopened Aug. 31 with pristine Champion Bermuda greens, plus several other upgrades and changes that will figure into players’ strategies when taking on the course.

Rees Jones, son of the late R.T. Jones and heir to his father’s mantle as “The Open Doctor” for his work in renovating seven past U.S. Open venues, was in charge of overseeing changes during the three-month-long project. The primary objective was to install the Champion Bermuda greens, hailed throughout the Southeast as a prime grass for putting conditions, hardiness and easy maintenance.

“It has been one of the highlights of my career to have had the opportunity to restore and enhance the original design intent,” Rees Jones said. “The course is now positioned for play by today's golfers.” Jones calls The Dunes Club one of his father’s “true masterpieces.”

Champions Bermuda avoids conditioning issues associated with bent grass greens, which are highly susceptible to summer’s high temperatures. Too, the modern hybrid Bermuda strain actually can achieve faster speeds than bent.

Besides the greens resurfacing, other improvements include a 50 percent expansion of the driving range; creation or extension of back tee boxes on eight holes; and new or rebuilt bunkers on Nos. 1, 7 and 11. A new brick bridge crosses over the water that runs in front of the opening tee and the 18th green.

Also, a new tee box complex was constructed to the right of the second hole’s original teeing area. The change gives players a better opportunity to cut yardage off the long, difficult dogleg par-4 hole.

With a total of 185 yards added to the course’s back tees, The Dunes Club now is listed at 7,370 yards. Most significant was the addition of 30 years to the dogleg right, par-5 13th hole, which wraps around a lake and is the course’s signature hole, dubbed “Waterloo.” The hole now will play a prodigious 620 yards from its back tees.

Organized in 1947 and the second-oldest course on the Grand Strand, The Dunes Club has been ranked among the Top 100 courses in the U.S. by Golf magazine, Golf Digest and Golfweek. The Waterloo hole was selected by Golf Digest for inclusion in its “Best 18 Holes In America.”

The Dunes Club also served as host to the Senior (now Champions) Tour Championship from 1994-99, and in 1973 hosted PGA Tour Qualifying School, which yielded such names as Ben Crenshaw, Gil Morgan and Gary McCord.

The course is private but is accessible to outside play via several Myrtle Beach golf packages. For information on playing and/or tee times, call (843) 449-5914 or click here.